I would like to introduce you to one of my most favourite of kitchen tools, the ULU knife. A very versatile and handy knife, you can use the ULU for almost anything. Personally, I prefer to use it for skinning things, especially the flesh of animals. The curved blade allows for an easy rocking motion and is kept fantastically sharp in a small knife block all it’s own (which is also great for displaying your fancy cutting tool). The ULU dates back to about 2500 BCE and has been used for centuries by the native peoples of the northern half of North America. A great knife for hunting and fishing, yes, but don’t be fooled, this baby can chop herbs like nobody’s business!
Some ULU knives come with a handy cutting board that has a bowl cut into it, making chopping and mincing even easier. In any case, you should get one if you are a kitchen gadget collector, because it is a fine instrument to have around when the need to remove skin arises. Just so you know, I am not affiliated with and have not been paid by the makers of the ULU knife to discuss it’s many merits. I was given this knife by a dear friend who worked in Alaska for a few summer’s and thought she would share with me, a piece of their spectacular history. I have to say, I don’t use it often and I appreciate that. It’s limited (in my kitchen) use ensures a super sharp blade every time I reach for it. I have yet to attempt to sharpen my ULU, but when I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it.
Today’s recipe is a savory and filling soup similar to a homemade chicken noodle, sans noodles. We don’t eat much pasta in this house, so we prefer to use other filling and more wholesome grains. The addition of barley to this soup does make it more of a stew, as the barley sucks up a lot of moisture, so be sure to add plenty of liquid if you choose to add the barley.
Chicken & Barley Soup
8 Chicken thighs, bone in, skin on or off
1 tbsp veg oil
2 carrots, peeled
2 celery stalks
2 small bay leaves
1 tsp each marjoram, basil, ground sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary
1500 ml low sodium chicken stock + 1-2 cups water
salt & pepper
2/3 cup barley (optional)
1. Slice and dice onions, celery and carrots into desired sized chunks.
2. Sauté veggies in large stock pot with vegetable oil on medium high heat until they begin to soften.
3. Remove skin from chicken thighs if using skin on and use for something else.
4. Add seasonings to vegetables and then place thighs into pot. Allow to cook and brown a bit, about 15-20 minutes.
5. Add stock and water (Add extra cup of water if using barley), bring to boil, lower and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. (Add barley in last 40-60 minutes if using.)
6. Remove thighs from soup, flake off meat with a fork and return to pot. Throw bones away.
7. Serve with crusty bread or on it’s own.